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The war of the camphor laurels by ABC 13-5-2012


The war of the camphor laurels by ABC 13-5-2012

Stand at the Bellingen look-out, high above one of the many river valleys on the north coast of Australia’s New South Wales, and waves of camphor laurel trees spread out beneath you. Camphors and more camphors as far as the eye can see… Huge exotic invaders planted by British colonists, now turning the land bright green. They’re undeniably pretty - but there isn’t much diversity. Nothing grows under a camphor laurel.

For more than a year now, Bellingen - a tiny country town known for its good coffee and music festivals - has been wrestling with the question of what to do with four old and much loved camphor laurels, shading the café strip. Things are temporarily quiet right now but placards stand ready…

Meanwhile, the question of what to do with the camphors has become entangled with debate about the changing nature of Bellingen itself… The place is full of loggers, aging hippies and well-heeled retirees recently arrived from the city, all living together in one small community.

Australian Broadcasting Corporation producer Nicole Steinke ventures into those shady cafes and leeches infested forests to witness ‘The war of the camphor laurels’…

Global Perspective

Global Perspective is an annual series in which documentary makers from around the world (including RTHK) bring together stories that offer unique perspectives and thoughts on a single theme. This year's theme is "Old School, New School".
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